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Icon October 25, 2011 - 09:51

Hurricane Rina puts Northern Islands on Voluntary Evacuation

Hurricane Rina puts Northern Islands on Voluntary Evacuation

At 9:00am Tuesday, October 25, 2011, the center of Hurricane Rina was located near 17.4 N, Latitude and 83.9 W, Longitude or about 284 miles east of Belize. Hurricane Rina is heading west northwest at 3 mph with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. TS force winds extends out to 115 miles and Hurricane Force Winds extend out 15 miles from the centre. 2-4 inches of rainfall is anticipated. Rina is expected to become to major Hurricane within the next 24 hours.

The NEMO National Executive Committee met at 6:30 am this morning and discussed the projected forecast, reports and advisories. Hurricane Rina has moved both westward and northward closer towards Belize.

This morning at 6:25 a.m., 42 people have been evacuated from Caye Caulker. The UB Scarlet Macaw building has been prepared to shelter the evacuees from Caye Caulker. Two hundred and thirty four people have been evacuated from San Pedro. The UB Gymnasium has been prepared to shelter the evacuees from San Pedro.

The Coast Guard has been warning and evacuating people from the atolls and surrounding Caye’s. The public is advised that prevailing Sea and Wind conditions can change suddenly even when the Sky is clear. People who do not evacuate when the conditions are favorable must be aware that there will be no evacuation by NEMO once the weather conditions do not permit.

NEMO remains at Phase II-Red 1, Hurricane Watch from Belize City Northward to the Belize/ Mexican Border.

NEMO remains on full alert as it continues to monitor Hurricane Rina which has the potential to further strengthen. NEMO urges the public to pay keen attention, listen to your local radio and television for further advisories from NEMO and the National Met Service. Rina is likely to become a powerful Hurricane. Stay alert! Stay tune! Take the necessary actions!

Evacuations in San Pedro
So far so good for Belize; looking at the projected path we might be out of the cone of uncertainty and if we end up on the south side of the storm the sea should get pretty rough which can cause beach erosion and some damage to piers and dive shops. It looks like a normal day in San Pedro, as people are heading to work, nobody has started boarding up their homes yet and very few people are voluntarily evacuating. But many are grateful that NEMO is providing free evacuation for those who want to leave the islands from now.   

NEMO has declared Phase II-Red 1, Hurricane watch from Belize City Northward to the Belize Mexican Border. School will be closed for San Pedro and Caye Caulker today, Tuesday, October 25, in preparation for evacuations and shelter accommodations on the island. The UB Gymnasium, in Belmopan, will be used as shelter for San Pedro and UB Scarlet Macaw for Caye Caulker. The Coast Guard will coordinate Caye Caulker evacuation.

Regular water taxi operations on the island will be suspended for tomorrow as NEMO has called for voluntary evacuations of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The public is to take note that this will affect their travel plans tomorrow. Evacuations started since 6a.m. this morning and are scheduled until Wednesday afternoon, weather conditions permitting. The water taxi vessels will be used to carry people out of the island and NOT bringing people back in.

People wanting to return to the island will only be able to do so on personal boats or private charters or through the local airlines which are still scheduled to conduct their regular flights. NEMO encourages people not to come to the island if they do not have a place of shelter. There will also be no boat runs to Chetumal, Mexico.

Elito Arceo is arranging trips to Bomba, Maskal, and those seeking to move in that direction need to contact the NEMO office located on Barrier Reef Drive or call 226-4291/226-3654/226-3695 or 600-8672.

Some of the public transportation in the North of the country will be disrupted to assist with coastal to inland evacuation. The public is to take note that this will affect their travel plans. NEMO will arrange shuttle buses for residents evacuating the island. These will head to Belmopan. Those who have family or shelters to go to can do so at their own expense after arriving in Belize City.

NEMO remains on full alert as it continues to monitor Hurricane Rina. Please continue listen to your local radio and television for further advisories from NEMO and the National Met Service. Ambergris Today will also keep its readers informed with regular updated notices.

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